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If one's friend passes on and there will be a Minyan attending without him does he have an obligation to go? Is it different if it is a Torah Scholar?

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It depends on what one is doing at the time, and how learned the deceased was. Shulchan Aruch (YD 361) discusses this:

  • If one is not learning, he must stop his work and go to accompany the deceased. In this case it makes no difference whether the deceased was learned or not. (se'if 2)

  • If one is learning at the time, then it depends on the deceased:

    1. If the deceased taught others, all must stop learning (or anything else) and go accompany him. (se'if 1)
    2. If the deceased only learned himself, but did not teach students, one need not interrupt his learning if there are 600,000 already in attendance. The Rema comments on this and says that nowadays we assume that the deceased learned something, and therefore one should interrupt his learning to accompany him. (ibid)
  • The above applies to a deceased man. If the deceased is a woman, it is a machlokes, but the custom is to treat a woman and a child as one who did not study. (ibid)

  • Children learning Torah may not interrupt their learning in any case. (ibid)

(Credit: Double AA)

  • So why doesn't everyone in Jerusalem (or some other large city with people who taught others dying basically everyday) spend every day at the cemetery? – Double AA May 11 '17 at 0:04
  • @DoubleAA Good question. Presumably they should, according to this. Although it also says (I forgot to put this in before) that children are not to interrupt their studying, so it would seem their teachers wouldn't either have to. – Ploni May 11 '17 at 2:49
  • But they don't, so likely there's more to it than this. – Double AA May 11 '17 at 2:55
  • @DoubleAA Do they know about the funerals? I don't think there's an obligation to find out about every funeral happening, especially as spreading bad news is considered a foolish thing to do. Do you know specifically that these people know about these funerals but continue learning as if nothing happened? – Ploni May 11 '17 at 2:56

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